McLean, Va.-based MicroStrategy introduced MicroStrategy Mobile, a product that delivers business intelligence information directly to BlackBerry smart phones. A report-manipulation feature enables users to view large reports within the handheld’s compact screen. The solution, which is currently being beta-tested, will be generally released during the second half of the year. The launch will coincide with the release of MicroStrategy’s 8.1.1 product.www.microstrategy.com
New York City-based Multimedia Plus developed a proprietary online-training program called Quiz Score. The customized, computer-based program allows managers to review results of training sessions immediately from any remote location in real time. This enables executives to manage areas of improvement in real time, and they can track progress on an individual, regional or store-level basis.www.multimedia-plus.com.
eZCom Software, Englewood, N.J., added new capabilities to its Lingo-managed, Electronic Data Interchange service. This new functionality allows vendors to automate the printing and preticketing of Universal Product Code (UPC) labels and anti-theft devices. These enhancements enable small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to slash the time required to produce the UPC tickets and stickers that vendors are often required to attach to merchandise before it makes its way to sales floors of large retail chains. The process used by most SMBs is manual and prone to errors, and could take hours to create and print information. Lingo now allows vendors to create and print forms within minutes. Anti-theft devices can also be created and pre-tagged on merchandise. www.ezcomsoftware.com
Checkpoint Systems, Inc.
Checkpoint Systems, Thorofare, N.J., introduced a new line of Enhanced Performing (EP) radio-frequency (RF) electronic-article-surveillance (EAS) labels. The new technology promises to improve detection and deactivation performance levels, which helps reduce shrink and boost the consumer experience. Designed smaller and thinner than traditional EAS labels, EP labels can be easily integrated into retailers’ source-tagging programs. The smaller label format is also compatible with Checkpoint’s new Meto Proline XXL RF hand-labeling guns, enabling retailers to apply more labels in less time.www.checkpointsystems.com
Labor Solutions International Inc.
Labor Solutions International (LSI), St. Louis, now offers a full suite of Web-based, labor-management software to complement its existing set of consulting and engineering services. The company’s current set of solutions focus on labor productivity, customer-service improvements and workforce efficiency. By adding a labor-management module to the mix, the company strives to become a one-stop shop for retailers in need of workforce-management solutions.www.lsi-consulting.com
ADT Security Systems
ADT Security Systems, a division of Tyco Fire & Security, Boca Raton, Fla., introduced two new software solutions that promise to improve inventory control and streamline receiptless returns, respectively. The NaviTrack Store Inventory solution allows retailers to collect, organize and store all critical inventory information in a central location. The software analyzes this data, provides alerts and visually identifies transactions that require action. This also enables retailers to evaluate inventory movement by department, category, stock-keeping unit (SKU) or Universal Product Code (UPC), which can help companies determine why fluctuations occur and quickly identify and correct loss prevention-issues. Meanwhile, ADT’s NaviGuest Return Authorization solution allows retailers to develop flexible and appropriate return policies. End users can evaluate returns in real time using a variety of different categories, including drilling down on information from a customer-, product-or cashier-level. The solution wards off fraudulent return loss and abuse, and measures return-to-sales conversion rates.www.adt.com
Customer-Facing Media, Minneapolis, introduced an in-store kiosk for retail environments. The unit, called the Touch ’n Save network, features an interactive display that can support motion and graphics found on television broadcasts, the interactivity and metrics of the Web, the editorial environment of magazines, and the coupon-distribution capabilities of newspaper supplements. Using the display’s touchscreen, consumers can access these media options as they use the unit to garner meal-planning ideas and recipes, create shopping lists, access electronic coupons and view other content that promises to improve the overall shopping experience. The vendor, which expected to have Touch ’n Save in more than 500 grocery stores by the summer, plans to roll out the unit to more than 2,000 stores by the end of 2008. www.customerfacingmedia.com
Winn-Dixie team honored for turnaround
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. The team that lead Winn-Dixie Stores’ successful turnaround initiative is being honored by the Turnaround Management Association for the best ‘Mega Company Turnaround’ for 2007. Comprised of financial experts from The Blackstone Group, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Smith Hulsey & Busey, the team helped Winn-Dixie regain the market share and profits it started to lose in the mid 1990s and early 2000s to competitors Publix and Wal-Mart.
Winn-Dixie filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early 2005 after reporting year-to-date losses of $552.8 million or $3.93 per share of common stock and a decline of 4.9% in identical-store sales in its second fiscal quarter over the same period in 2004.
Despite the difficulty of achieving a succesful turnaround, Winn-Dixie began its reorganization effort, while still continuing to operate its core business and preserving jobs. According to the Turnaround Management Association, it created new common stock for five classes of unsecured creditors, with recoveries ranging from about 96% to 53%. The company emerged from bankruptcy on Nov. 21, 2006.
For its fiscal year ended June 27, Winn-Dixie reported adjusted EBITDA of $85.9 million compared to a loss of $27.8 million last year and an identical-store sales increase of 1.6%
Sears ends deal with maternity retailer
PHILADELPHIA Sears and Mothers Work, the world’s leading maternity apparel retailer, will not be renewing their agreement, Mothers Work announced today. Under their current agreement, Mothers Works operates the maternity apparel department in 502 Sears stores through the sale of its Two Hearts Maternity branded merchandise.
Mothers Work said it expects its partnership with Sears to end on June 20, 2008, when it current deal with the company is expected to expire.
Rebecca Matthias, president and ceo of Mothers Work, noted, “While we are disappointed about the end of our relationship with Sears, we feel the decision not to proceed with a renewal is in the best interest of our stockholders since we were unable to reach terms on a renewal which would be favorable for Mothers Work and our stockholders. “